It is extremely annoying that at a time when Kenyan minds should be sharply focused on the new constitution the side show provoked by one Kalonzo Musyoka has shifted all the attention to the wrong place. My firm belief is that Kenyans have not put this petty incident in its’ right perspective and yet it is important that we do.
The most important point to note is that it proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Kalonzo Musyoka is NOT presidential material and seems to lack the very basics of politics. Here’s why. Picture Kalonzo Musyoka as president after 2012 and then imagine a situation where wananchi get impatient with him and his presidential speech as they often have with president Kibaki. What will he do? Call a presidential press conference to say that Raila is finishing him politically? Or that he has instructed his followers to embarrass the president? Or maybe ask the presidential escort to arrest the rowdy youths immediately? Come on!!!
If Kalonzo Musyoka doesn’t have the very basic political skills to handle a small section of the crowd at Uhuru Park how the hell is he going to be president? And to make it worse with a new constitution that will require smart folks who can think quickly on their feet?
Admittedly the fact that Kalonzo does not have the very basic “kindergarten political skills” of dealing with a hostile crowd is hardly surprising. The man cut his teeth as a Kanu politician where the most important credentials were how loud you could shout mama na baba while waving the one finger salute. And of course the ability to kneel before one Mulu Mutisya. Hardly the kind of skills that require much mental strain.
When you add the style of politics in Ukambani during the Kanu era into the mix, Kalonzo Musyoka’s behaviour after a few rowdy youths asked him to wind up his speech is not surprising at all. Many younger Kumekucha readers may NOT be aware of the kind of terror that Kalonzo Musyoka and his Godfather Mulu Mutisya used to visit on anybody in Ukambani who did not acknowledge their power. This is definitely not the kind of environment that would promote any skills for competitive politics.
Now you understand why the VP goes ballistic every time some rowdy schoolboy jeers at him from the crowd. How dare they?!!!! Remember the incident in Mombasa in 2007 when the VP reacted by trying to grab a hammer from a rowdy Raila Odinga supporter during a ODM rally? Remember how William Ruto at the same meeting quickly gauged the mood of the crowd and changed tact to his advantage?
Politicians are booed all the time. Jomo Kenyatta faced a very hostile crowd in Nyeri in 1952 but soldiered on with his speech (details are in Dark secrets of the Kenyan presidency). At another incident a rowdy crowd threw rotten eggs in the face of Jomo Kenyatta. President Barack Obama faced rowdy hostile booing crowds a few times during his recent successful presidential campaign. Mostly from radical African Americans who felt his campaign was a betrayal to the black race. Tom Mboya had a very difficult time when he arrived at the Limuru Conference centre in 1960 and was loudly booed by a section of the crowd while another section cheered him on. It was obvious which of his many political enemies had organized the booing and the whole scheme was to exclude him from the formation of a new national political party that came to be known as Kanu, but Mboya did not call a press conference to castigate his enemies. How the hell do you expose yourself in that manner? Interestingly Mboya always did his homework and knew in advance that he would face a hostile reception and so he prepared his counter strategy (the section of the crowd that wildly cheered him so that everybody would know that he was not unpopular and that only a section of the crowd was hostile. Now that is how a politician plays his cards. And I can go on and on.
You see politics is about thinking quickly on your feet and turning a bad situation to your advantage. As well as lots of damage control behind the scenes. That is the very nature of competitive politics anywhere in the world. Sadly all this must be Greek to the VP, as well read as he is.
I have just been reviewing tapes of the booing incident and I must say that Musyoka looks ridiculous waving back the time out signs that the youth were flashing in his direction. Every presidential candidate needs to look "presidential" all the time. The VP amazingly played right into their hands. Burly Fred Gumo gave him a perfect exit strategy when stood up and pointed out that the youth were complaining that it was about to rain and that is why they wanted him to hurry his speech. A smarter politician would have grabbed the que and quickly just laughed off the whole situation and sat down, apologizing about the rain. If the VP was stung, there are numerous other ways he would have dealt with the rowdy youths and those he is sure sent them.
Let us for a moment assume that the whole thing was a smear campaign organized by his political rival Raila Odinga with 2012 in mind (I still don’t see what Raila would gain from organizing such a childish charade, somebody please make me see it). What would be the right response if you were Kalonzo Musyoka? I would certainly not handle it the way the VP has. Assuming that I did not think fast enough on my feet at Uhuru park when it happened and I was taken completely by surprise (terrible for a seasoned politician) instead of calling a press conference to whine and attract attention to my own embarrassment I would have completely ignored the incident and worked hard to show that the youths had achieved nothing and my feelings were not hurt in any way. Instead I would have concentrated all my energies into repositioning myself as a more firm and resolute member of the YES campaign camp. Voters hate indecisive politicians especially after the Mwai Kibaki presidency in Kenya.
Instead, by behaving the way he did Kalonzo has portrayed himself as a whining coward who is easily cowed by a few heckling youths. And in the minds of many kenyans his stand on the new constitution is still Yes, No, No, Yes. It seems his stand would be firmer if Raila odinga was in the the "NO" camp. Kalonzo seems to be obsessed with the fellow. And if I was a heckler I would now have a field day at every opportunity in future knowing how sensitive the VP is to some little heckling. If I was his political opponent I would organize a heckling campaign through the 2012 presidential campaign just to unsettle him. You don’t show people your weakness in politics like that. You just don’t. It is suicidal.
P.S. I laugh heartily when I read all these tribal theories being peddled in the comments section here in Kumekucha on how the new constitution will be defeated in the referendum because of Raila this and Raila that. Or because of this tribe supporting it and that other tribe opposing it. Every Kenyan has a right to an opinion even if it is grossly ignorant and outdated (I dare say this right is better covered in the draft constitution). I will say no more. Let’s just wait for the results after August 4th and we’ll see just how tribal Kenyans really are. And how ignorant the people of Kenya are on the ground. And who told you Raila will win the presidency in 2012?
Poor ignorant armchair analysts they won’t know what hit them.
ABUSE OF POWER AS STATE FUNDS YES CAMPAIGNS
Guest post by Daniel Waweru
In 2005 referendum campaigns, one of the biggest complaint of the politicians behind the then NO group now ODM was the fact that the YES campaigns were bankrolled by the government. Raila and other politicians in the then NO campaigns called this ABUSE OF POWER and FRAUD. Their argument was that the taxpayers monies should not be used to support a cause that was was not yet constitutional and which in addition was not supported by a majority of Kenyans.
Fast forward to 2010, the ODM party which is now in government has joined hands with the then government and has CLONED AND ACTIVELY PROPAGATED THE SAME SINS they preached against 5 years ago. State funds are now being used to bankroll the 2010 YES campaigns which are being led by Kibaki and Raila. This is a clear case of HYPOCRICY and it should be called out and condemned. Unfortunately, the public kitty is not just being used for the referendum. It is an open secret that these campaigns are being used as a platform to market the 2012 presidential candidates. Most speakers in these rallies are spending more time glorifying their presidential candidates of choise and very little on the constitution. The sad reality is that accountability of these campaign funds is almost impossible and knowing our politicians, it means that most of the monies are being siphoned to private accounts. If Kenyans were shocked by Goldenberg and Anglo leasing, they should then be very afraid since the YES group is a congregation of WHO IS WHO in the CORRUPTION HISTORY OF KENYA.
Kenyans need to demand more of civic educators and less of political rallies since the former are the ones mandated with teaching about the contents of the draft constitution. Its sad that even the money for hiring, training and commissioning these civic educators have been diverted by the government to bankroll their YES campaigns. The time to demand fairness and sanity in this constitutional process is yesterday. But will Kenyans listen or are they already intoxicated by their favourite politicians?
Have you noticed the same politicians enjoying unlimited access to the public Kitty to fund the YES campaigns are the same ones accusing the church of using DONOR funding in their NO campaigns?
As they say, Nyani haoni Kundule.